National Library in Kolkata facing acute staff shortage

Even while the 113-year-old National Library is planning to expand in other States, the main campus in Kolkata is facing a severe staff shortage.

More than 53 per cent of the total sanctioned posts are lying vacant in the Library.

According to Government documents, accessed by The Hindu , out of the 658 sanctioned posts, about 349 are lying vacant. Currently, the Library does not have any permanent Director-General (D-G) but the post of the Principal Library and Information Officer (Chief Librarian) are also lying vacant.

No comment

D-G, Additional Charge, of National Library Arun Kumar Chakraborty refused to comment on the matter.

The staff shortage has caused significant inconvenience to readers who said that this has resulted into deterioration of the quality of service at the Library.

Speaking to The Hindu, Ranjit Sen, a retired professor of Calcutta University and a regular visitor to the National Library, said that these days it takes nearly two hours “at times” to get a book after filing a requisition.

“Not only is the digital catalogue incomplete, but also there is nobody to assist senior readers who are not used to handling computers,” he said.

‘System not user-friendly’

Another senior researcher Ardhrendu Mukhopadhyay said that there are not even adequate staff members to find the books asked by the readers.

As for the digital cataloguing system, a researcher said that it is “not user friendly” and it often takes a long time to find the relevant book. “These days it has become very difficult for the readers to get information on the newly-published books due to the lack of staff,” he added.

Additionally, the Ministry of Culture has already proposed to post staff members “on rotation” from Kolkata campus to the new facility in Delhi. The D-G’s proposal to the Ministry stated that initially 10 persons will be shifted to Delhi.

However, following the agitation of the staff unions, the D-G wrote to the Ministry of Culture, a copy of which is with The Hindu .

The D-G said that the National Library is “already understaffed” and hence any further “dilution” will “hamper the day work”.

The unions have also contested the decision. Santanu Bhowmick, secretary of the National Library Employees’ Association, said that the proposal to “shift staff from here is totally impractical as the Library is already going through a crisis due to lack of staff.”

The National Library Staff Association secretary Saibal Chakraborty also questioned the proposal. “The Library authorities should focus more on the digitisation drive,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2022 12:47:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/National-Library-in-Kolkata-facing-acute-staff-shortage/article14491895.ece

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